Monday, November 19, 2012

What a silly gal!

Saw The Lymph Lady today and my arm is ok. In fact, pretty much better than last week. So this just shows how neurotic I am.
I have made the state of my arm the benchmark for how I feel about things....
She did, however, measure both arms, and my upper left arm is up about 8mm (so almost 1 cm) compared to my right arm, and bizarrely enough there is almost 1/2cm (4mm to be precise) difference between my two wrists. The other differences were minute but still there....although one of the measurements on my left arm might have been less than my right arm, which is how it should be, as it is my less dominant arm.
So it's not ideal but I don't need to wear a compression sleeve for which I am eternally and overwhelmingly grateful. A happy chappy.

PS: Also saw dietician. Ironically weighed the same as I had when last saw her in July but had lost and gained in the interim. Naughtily bought 90g Christmas cake miniatures but keeping them in the spare room for Christmas time.....Confident weight will go down. Boiling boiling hot here in Joburg at the moment. Over 30 degrees I reckon.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My arm is bad

Not sure if it because I cut my finger on Tuesday, the intense heat or because I have gained a little weight (2kg up from my usual thinness, or 1kg up from what I often weigh) or whether it is a combination of all those, but my arm is awful.
It looks very swollen. Well to me it does.
Seeing The Lymph Lady tomorrow morning so will know then how bad it is.
Praying I don't have to wear a compression sleeve.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Lymphoedema Society of South Africa?

Cut my finger this evening. Stupid. My fault. Have a paper knife used to cut newspaper articles and had brought it home from work to clean it. Stooopid. Was also packing away washing, then gonna change and rush to yoga. Knife cut into my finger. Panicked. On THAT HAND, the hand at risk of lymphedema or, as it is spelt here in South Africa, lymphoedema. A bad week for this - as my arm was up in three places on Monday and going back to see The Lymph Lady again next week.
Went to a local clinic. It is next door to the local pharmacy so decided I was being bloody ridiculous and went there to ask for "the stuff that sticks cuts together".Then pharmacist said I should get stitches as the steri-whatever wouldn't work on my finger tip.
Off I went. Fab doctor. Young. I explained to her that whatever she did, she couldn't give me an injection on that hand. Told her why. Besides the fact that she didn't ask if the blade was rusty/dirty (it was filthy) and should I maybe have got an anti-tetanus injection, she knew about lympedema but seemed ignorant re the causes. Seemed to think the chemo caused me.
Now I was feeling a little embarrassed at my over-reaction to what she said was a superficial cut (but it had been bleeding profusely at home, plus I am dressed in white from top to toe today and was conscious of not getting blood all over me), when I came home I thought: that is it. I am going to start South Africa's lymphedema society. There isn't one.
And I want to educate people.
Let's call her Tolly, from my bookclub, had a lump removed, chemo, radiation. Oh she had the chemo first. Then the surgery. At some point she was going overseas for work, and I told her to see The Lymph Lady so that she could get a compression sleeve for the trip as the long-haul flight could make her arm swell.
She phoned her, arranged to get a sleeve. Then some time afterwards, she made an appointment to see The Lymph Lady. It transpires, so The Lymph Lady told me, that Tolly came for some education, to find out what to do. Her arm was measured and lo and behold, she has lymphedema and now wears a compression sleeve permanently.
She said she had had blood taken from that arm since radiation.....and I know she wore a backpack when travelling and didn't follow all the 'rules' like I do.
Now she is an associate professor, hardly a fool.
The truth is that people in South Africa do not know about the threat of lymphedema or what to do to help prevent it, who to see if God forbid you do have it or are under threat.
I live in fear of developing lymphedema and am soooo vain I now realise. Have said I would kill myself if had to wear a compression sleeve and already apprehensive about possibly going overseas next year and anyway my arm right now is kinda f.... so......
Well, didn't want to make this anxiety a feature in my life, didn't want to think about it any more than I already do, with doing manual lymph drainage massage twice a day, but think I need to create awareness. And as a trained teacher (who no longer teachers) and a former publicist, have the means to turn this into a reality.....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Feeling ok - just a bit fat

What a blah headline I have given this post. (OK, now added "just a little fat"). Don't feel blah, feel fine. Having got over the endometrial cancer scare (see previous posts) I am feeling fine, just trying to deal with the over-eating which started with the scare. Been a long time since I overate for emotional reasons.
Hoping things will calm down and have contacted the dietician although can hardly afford another appointment (R1000 for an hour.....will try for a 45 min one).
Have always had a weight problem but never been obese. Got everything sorted when I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem - more than 10 years ago - and although it was overactive (Graves' disease), I was told afterwards that I was one of 10% of people who gained weight. I remember one week I gained 4kg. It was one of the worst weeks of my life. So out of control. Went shopping that Saturday and was shaking a lot. From the thyroid making everything in my body work too fast. Bought about 4 -5 pants suits, mostly in fabrics with lycra and short jackets. I never wore them. I kept thinking I would lose the weight. I didn't. In fact, today am about 16-18kg heavier than when I got diagnosed with thyroid. But today am 2kg heavier than normal, and intend to lose 8kg. Which will make me 8kg heavier than when I got diagnosed which would be fine for me.
I am pretty obsessive about it. I weigh myself every day. Watch what I eat but, thanks to the tamoxifen, the minute I eat lots of protein, I gain.
Today's weight is 1kg more than when I was diagnosed with cancer almost 4 years ago - and the only reason I remember what I weighed is that The Tango Man, when I asked whether I would eat more or just get fatter from tamoxifen (the latter, he said),  yelled at me: "You weren't thin when you walked in here; you weighed X"!
Anyway...not the end of the world..... off to a party just now... it's not lunch but well, it's from 2pm so dunno what it will be. Not a cake fan - other than Christmas cake - so just have to make sure drink enough water today else will nibble things.
I am so grateful my D&C results were ok. Got myself into a real tizz re that.
PS: I know my picture is fuzzy. My hairdresser took it when I had my hair cut last week. Need The Yoga Man to take another but he is out at the moment. Have never put my face on this blog..... maybe I should....